Country mouse on drought

Few can be surprised that the horse trials at Badminton have been cancelled. In what has been one of the wettest Aprils on record, the never-ending torrent of rain has made the course unsafe and the event unworkable.

The county-cricket season has been badly hit, too, with many matches completely washed out. At home, dead frogs litter the road, and ducks are to be found swimming in newly created ponds. It has been miserable for almost everyone except gardeners and farmers. And yet, we still have a hosepipe ban.

In most other countries, the recent vast amount of rain would have been captured in reservoirs, but in Britain we seem all too happy to let most of it wash out to sea. We are constantly being told that, after two years of dry weather, the groundwater levels are so low that the hosepipe ban must stay.

But is ground-water something we should rely on for the majority of our water in this period of changing climate? Is it time to restrict the use of private boreholes and build new reservoirs to save the water? If Britain is going to have a climate where it never rains until it pours, we’re going to have to think differently.

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